Anyone choosing sides in the nature vs. nurture conversation should be reasonably convinced by now that life is not so simple, and, that behavior is unlikely to be the product of one or the other (nature, or nurture) alone. It’s been understood for some time that male homosexuality has a genetic component, but now for the first time, two specific gene variations have been found to be more common in gay men, suggesting a specific genetic influence on sexual preference. It’s worth mentioning from the onset here that, unfortunately, as with many other areas of human-biology research, there have been more studies of gay men than women and so less is known about the influence of genes on women’s sexual orientation.
In 1993, Dean Hamer created an uproar with his discovery of a “gay gene” — really an area of the X chromosome known as “Xq28.” He also suggested that a region of chromosome 8 might play a similar role. Not all subsequent studies agreed with his conclusions and, worse, Hamer experienced years of being demonized by conservatives who considered being gay purely a choice that could be reversed with “retraining”. But in 2014, a large study by J. Michael Bailey analyzed DNA from 409 pairs of gay brothers confirmed Hamer’s findings. Hamer expressed his relief to Science at the time, saying, “When you first…
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